Cruise Lines Cancel Istanbul Calls, Again

By ,   June 29, 2016 ,   Cruise Industry

Some of the major cruise lines still calling at Istanbul, Turkey are beginning to cancel port calls there following yesterday's latest airport bombing which killed 41 people. Others are monitoring the situation.

Cunard, Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn and Windstar were due to call at Istanbul in the coming days. Of those, only Seabourn and Celebrity have canceled.

Neither U.K.'s Foreign & Commonwealth Office nor U.S.'s State Department have changed their travel advice to Turkey - ordinarilly the trigger for travel bodies to alter or cancel travel plans. The United States currently has a warning for Turkey's southeast part bordering Iraq aand Syria.

The bombing is the 6th and deadliest terrorist attack in the country this year. The 2nd Istanbul bombing in March led to several lines (including Viking) altering their itineraries.

Disney, Crystal and MSC Cruises already announced they will not visit Turkey in 2016. Celebrity canceled overnights in Istanbul. Many cruise lines that offer Eastern Mediterranean cruises embark or disembark in Istanbul, which means that passenger flights may need to be changed on short notice.

Istanbul

Celebrity Cruises canceled all calls at Istanbul. A spokesperson for the line said: 

"Celebrity Cruises is aware of the situation in Istanbul, Turkey, and our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by the attack. After discussion with our Global Security team in Miami, we have decided to cancel all of Celebrity Cruises' upcoming calls to Istanbul, Turkey, and replace them with Athens (Piraeus), Greece.This decision was made in the interests of our guests' safety and we apologize for the impact on their cruise. Our guests' holiday time is precious and we did not take this decision lightly. The safety of our guests and crew is always our foremost concern. We are currently finalizing the details of these itinerary changes and will communicate with our guests or their travel agents as soon as we have additional details."

Cunard's Queen Victoria ship is due in Istanbul on July 18 and will spend a night in the port. No changes have been made. According to a spokesperson for Cunard: 

"We are looking into the situation, and we will work closely with law enforcement and government agencies to assess the issue and make a determination with our brands. Safety is our number one priority, first and foremost, and the safety of our guests always comes first."

Celestyal Cruises offers no more Istanbul calls, but will continue to visit Cesme and Kusadasi.

Holland America Line's ms Eurodam is due on July 22 to spend a night in Istanbul. The call is still on the books. In a statement, HAL said: 

"Holland America Line is closely monitoring the situation in Turkey. The company analyzes information regarding safety and security from many sources, which includes liaising with government intelligence agencies and on-the-ground port security assessments. We are assessing our upcoming scheduled visits to Istanbul. The next scheduled call is July 23, 2016, with ms Eurodam. Should any decisions be made regarding itinerary changes, it will be closer to the scheduled call date and communicated with booked guests and their travel agents. The safety of our guests and crew is our top priority."

Princess Cruises' Royal Princess is due in Istanbul on July 7, and is still going ahead with the visit. A spokesperson said: 

"We are closely monitoring the situation in Istanbul. We will advise guests and our travel consultant partners should the need arise to make changes to any of our published itineraries."

He also confirmed that cruise passengers would pay a penalty in case they chose to cancel.

Seabourn replaced the Friday, July 1 call for its Odyssey ship. A statement from the line says: 

"After a very careful and thorough review, Seabourn has decided to replace the July 2, 2016 turn port of Istanbul with Piraeus (Athens). Seabourn is closely monitoring the situation in Istanbul. The company analyzes information regarding safety and security from many sources, which includes liaising with government intelligence agencies and on-the-ground port security assessments. We are in the process of assessing other upcoming scheduled visits to Istanbul. We will provide an update in the next 24 hours."

Uniworld has several river cruises in Eastern Europe flying out of Istanbul. No news from the line have been revealed yet.

Wind Star has several scheduled calls in Istanbul for July and no changes are planned at this time. Windstar's statement reads: 

"Windstar Cruises is saddened by the bombings at Istanbul Atatürk Airport and our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by the attack. We have been closely monitoring the situation; we have not made any modifications to upcoming sailings at this time. Windstar Cruises' next call at Istanbul, Turkey is scheduled on the 148-passenger Wind Star on July 9, 2016. We will continue to closely monitor the changing situation in Turkey and will contact guests or their travel agents quickly should any modifications to upcoming itineraries be announced. At Windstar Cruises the safety and security of our guests and crew is always our top priority and decisions affecting our deployment will be made accordingly."